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Remembering JFK

22 Nov


“We must use time as a tool, not a crutch.” — JFK


Today marks 48 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

It is a time when all Americans (even those who were not yet born in 1963) stop to reflect on what our country lost that day for we lost so much more than more than just a man — and we ponder what role that tragic event played in shaping the world we now find ourselves living in.

While it is important that we pause to remember the past, and to ask these questions about America’s future (he would want us to), let’s not allow ourselves to forget the man Jack Kennedy was. Because it seems that far too often, we focus our attention on his death and the many questions that still remain unanswered. Shouldn’t we instead remember his life?

Sitting atop the perch where Abraham Zapruder took film of the assassination, a young boy tries to make sense of it all. Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX. June 1, 2008

Sitting atop the perch where Abraham Zapruder shot his film of the assassination, a young boy tries to make sense of it all. Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX. June 1, 2008

Since this somber anniversary happens to fall around Thanksgiving, it just doesn’t seem appropriate somehow to be mournful. Rather, let us give thanks for all of the good things he brought to this world as a catalyst for change. Let us recall the way he inspired people around the globe; the hope and optimism he brought to the presidency. Let’s celebrate his vision, his strength, his courage, his razor-sharp mind, his gracecharm, and of course, that delightful, sometimes wicked wit.

This would be a perfect time to reach for one of your favorite books on the shelf and immerse yourself in some of his words. Listen to some of his best speeches. Because these things are the legacy he left us. His words will live in history forever and cannot be erased.

A single red rose on the Grassy Knoll in front of the former Texas School Book Depository (now the 6th Floor Museum).

A single red rose, left by an unknown admirer on the Grassy Knoll in front of the former Texas School Book Depository (now the 6th Floor Museum).

Naturally, we all have our own favorite books and speeches of JFK’s; I’ve certainly got a long list of works I find deeply moving and inspiring, but I’ll refrain from making any recommendations here because I feel that how each of us remembers him today should be a strictly personal choice.

But there is one little tidbit I want to share:

On November 19, 1963, just three days before his death, President Kennedy wrote this message for the re-dedication ceremonies of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania:

“The goals of liberty and freedom, the obligations of keeping ours a government of and for the people are never-ending.”

Just one sentence, but this says it all. Written nearly a half century ago, his words serve to remind us all that there is still so much work to do. Lest we forget.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

May 29, 1917- November 22, 1963

Notes and flowers left for President Kennedy on the Grassy Knoll Fence. Dallas, June 2008

Notes and flowers left for President Kennedy on the Grassy Knoll Fence. Dallas, June 2008


Text and images copyright 2008-2011, New Frontier. All rights reserved.



Another Air America Affiliate Bites The Dust

18 Oct

 Air America Logo

KOKE-AM to Air America Radio: “Adios, Amigo!”

Here in the progressive, hip, liberal blue-city-in-a-red-state mecca of Austin, TX, another Air America affiliate has apparently bought the farm. KOKE-AM 1600 is no longer.

Austinites will now have to tune to XM Satellite radio channel 167 to get their weekly dose of “Ring of Fire,” the Air America show hosted by Bobby Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and John Morgan.

As of midnight October 17th, KOKE-AM was sold by Border Media Partners to Encino Broadcasting, LLP, for $5.5 million, along with two other stations. Encino’s owner, Jose J. Garcia (who owned KOKE years ago before it was sold to BMP) decided to change the format from progressive talk to Mexican Norteno music.

Why KOKE switched to the Mexican music format is somewhat puzzling considering that Austin already has about 5 or 6 Spanish language stations. Three stations in town offer conservative talk programming.

So Austin just lost it’s ONLY liberal news/talk station. No more Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Rachel Maddow, or “Ring of Fire”…and once again, the voice of the left has been silenced.

The sale of KOKE continues what appears to be an unfortunate trend for Air America. The recent loss of affiliate stations in liberal strongholds such as Boston, Austin, and San Diego (whose KLSD will switch formats to sports on Nov. 1st, despite online petitions and local demonstrations imploring the station’s owners to keep AAR on the air) challenges the network to find a way to reach listeners through outlets other than the commercial airwaves.

Although media insiders knew this sale was coming, the average listener in Austin had no advance warning at all. Perhaps because the station owner’s didn’t want another San Diego-style protest on their hands. They just did it quietly, in the middle of the night. No  announcement until after the deal was done.

I noticed late last night that KOKE had dead air for several hours. Just thought it was a transmitter problem (these are not unusual at KOKE), until I turned on the station at 5am when I woke up, only to hear Mexican music instead of the “Young Turks.”

First reaction was “huh”? Then, it became clear this was a permanent format change. Why?

Well, let’s examine the summer `07 Arbitron ratings for this market:






Yikes. Can’t even pull 1% in Austin, TX? Amazing but true. Don’t ask me why. This is a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic, yet the right-wing talk radio stations in town such as KLBJ-AM consistently get much better ratings.

Another factor in KOKE’s demise is that the station lacked local programming. No local live call-in shows. No news staff. No involvement in the local community. The entirety of their programming was Air America, along with a few football games and weekend shows beamed in from the Dallas market.

Austinites don’t give a damn what’s going on in Dallas, but they DO care passionately about local issues. And they had no outlet for interaction on the Austin airwaves, especially considering that KLBJ-AM is rather infamous for screening out callers who disagree with their conservative viewpoint.

KLBJ, to their credit, knows how to do news/talk successfully. They have a newsroom staff of 7-10 people, several local call-in shows, advertising, billboards, promotions, and stay completely engaged in the community. It doesn’t hurt that they are a heritage station with those legendary call letters.

Always thought it ironic that our right-wing news talk station in town was KLBJ, owned for 40 years by the family of one of our nation’s more liberal Democratic presidents.

Somehow, I don’t think it’s quite what Lyndon and Lady Bird had in mind.

Copyright 2007 by RFKin2008.com. All Rights Reserved.